• Kyodo

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A research institute in Yamaguchi Prefecture has put on the market a brand of sake made from cherry blossom yeast, the first of its kind to be sold in Japan and possibly in the world.

The new sake was produced by Yamaguchi Prefectural Industrial Technology Institute, based in Ube, in cooperation with several other businesses and organizations, including local breweries and a technology school.

Although the new product is the first sake to be made from “sakura” (cherry blossoms), it is not the first time the drink has been made using flowers. Previously, a variety was made from gillyflower extract.

Starting in spring 1999, the researchers collected flowers from 80 sakura trees in the prefecture and began searching for yeast that could be used in the brewing process.

Although there is plenty of yeast in a sakura flower, much of it has levels of alcohol too low to make it suitable for brewing sake.

Last year, they successfully extracted from the cherry blossoms a particular type of yeast that can be used to produce sake with an alcoholic content of over 15 percent.

The product, which can be brewed in an unusually short period of time, is also remarkable for emitting a sweet fruitlike scent. It will go on sale priced at 400 yen for 300 ml, or 1,500 yen for 720 ml.

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